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Neo-Nazism and unpopular minority religions
A request to anti-Nazi watchdog groups

by Diane Vera

Copyright © 2006 Diane Vera. All rights reserved.

Some unpopular minority religious categories do attract more than their share of neo-Nazis, alas. The main one is Norse Paganism/Heathenism (Odinism, Asatru, etc.) Another is Satanism. But neo-Nazis and their sympathizers are only a minority within both these religious categories, and should not be considered representative of these religions.

I would like to ask anti-Nazi watchdog groups and writers to mention the latter fact when reporting on either neo-Nazi Heathens or neo-Nazi Satanists, to avoid inflaming popular prejudices against unpopular minority religions.

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) already takes a more responsible approach on this matter. For example, the ADL site says this about Odinism: "While not by nature a racist religion, Odinism is popular among white supremacists because its Old Norse origins are seen as representative of Aryan heritage and cultural pride." This page also says, "Nazi Germany glorified an idealized 'Aryan/Norse' heritage, consequently extremists have appropriated many symbols from pre-Christian Europe for their own uses. They give such symbols a racist significance, even though the symbols did not originally have such meaning and are often used by nonracists today, especially practitioners of modern pagan religions."

As for Satanism, as of December 2, 2006, the ADL website has very little to say about neo-Nazi Satanists. Evidently the ADL doesn't consider neo-Nazi Satanists to be a big enough threat to be worth worrying about. Using the ADL site's search featuer, the only mentions of "Satanism" I found on the ADL site were (1) some reports on the blatantly ridiculous claims by some Jew-haters that all Jews are somehow tied to Satanism, and (2) a reported remark by Pat Buchanan to the effect that "promiscuous homosexuals" are Satanists. No pages came up at all for the keyword "Satanist." The keywords "Satanists" and "Satanic" both yielded ADL's coverage of the July 2006 splintering of the National Socialist Movement, in which the role of a "satanic cult" was discussed but not featured nearly as prominently as in other anti-hate organizations' coverage of the same events. (See the links in the section on Satanist neo-Nazis vs. their fellow neo-Nazis in my article How can we effectively discourage neo-Nazism in the Satanist scene?.) ADL's reporting on the "satanic cult" was not accompanied by the kind of disclaimer that I would like to have seen, but at least the "satanic cult" wasn't presented in a sensationalistic manner, either.

The ADL takes an all-around more responsible approach than most similar organizations in some other ways too. For example, its website has a section devoted to Challenging Anti-Semitism: Debunking the Myths & Responding with Facts, whereas too many other anti-"hate group" sites don't make any serious attempt to refute the claims of the "hate groups" to which they are giving so much free publicity.

Other anti-Nazi groups are also far less responsible than the ADL in their journalism regarding unpopular minority religions. Indeed, some groups seem to drool over "neo-Nazi Satanists," apparently capitalizing on popular prejudice against Satanists as yet another way to scare the public about neo-Nazis.

The worst I've run into, so far, is an anti-"race hate" group called "Fight dem back!" (FDB) based in Australia and New Zealand. For example, in its stories about one local White Nationalist leader, Kerry Bolton, the FDB blog calls him a "Satanist" almost every time his name is mentioned. Kerry Bolton was indeed a public figure in the Satanist scene from approximately 1990 until approximately 1997. But he subsequently left Satanism and even came to regard religious diversity (including Satanism) as a sign of "cultural decadence." Yet the FDB folks insist, on totally specious grounds as far as I can tell, that he is still a Satanist. (For details, see my page about Fight dem back!.)

Another group whose attitude toward Satanism bothers me is Citizens Against Hate (CAH), a U.S.A.-based group. However, at least the CAH folks seemed to be a little more concerned than the FDB folks about getting their facts straight. (See the links in the section on Satanist neo-Nazis vs. their fellow neo-Nazis in my article How can we effectively discourage neo-Nazism in the Satanist scene?.)

Below, as I have occasion to write them, I'll list pages about the coverage of Satanist and Norse Heathen neo-Nazis by various specific anti-"hate" watchdog groups:

For those who need evidence that Norse Heathens aren't all just a bunch of neo-Nazis:  There are plenty of Norse Heathens who have denounced the neo-Nazis and other racists amongst them. For example, see:

(That last group seems to think that LaVeyan Satanism is the only form of Satanism, but I do appreciate their critique of HAH's hypocrisy.)

Not as many Satanists have been as forthcoming with denunciations of neo-Nazism, I will admit. However, neo-Nazism is clearly incompatible with most Satanisms' emphasis on individuality. At the same time, precisely because of most Satanisms' emphasis on individual freedom and thinking for oneself, many Satanists have also been reluctant to condemn the neo-Nazis amongst us. I personally do feel that it's important for more of us to take a stand, now that neo-Nazism seems to be a growing movement again (though still very small, at least here in the U.S.A.) both within the Satanist scene and in the world at large. There are ways that we can take a stand whils still respecting the freedom of Satanists to explore all manner of popularly forbidden ideas. To that end, I've written a collection of articles Against neo-Nazism among Satanists, and I plan to encourage other theistic Satanists to put up anti-Nazi pages on their websites too. In the meantime, see the sites already on my list of Pages and sites by Satanists opposing neo-Nazism or neo-Nazi Satanist groups.

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